Sunday, June 30, 2013

Do You Remember "Train Cases"?

I'm going to share a project with you that I've been "thinking about" for at least 10 years...and have been "working on" for the last 3 weeks.  After many years of procrastination, I finally decided to complete this project before my next trip.

Here's a test to see how old you are.  Do you remember "train cases"?  Raise your hand if you do.  If you don't, stay tuned for an ancient history lesson.  :)  

A "train case" used to be the smallest piece of luggage back when luggage was "hard-sided" instead of "soft-sided" like it is now.  It was usually square-ish and was the vintage equivalent of the modern-day "carry-on" luggage...back when people traveled by train instead of airplane.

About 10 years or so ago, I purchased a vintage "train case" for $3.00 to carry toiletries in when I travel.   The theory was that if I had something that I could keep "stocked", I wouldn't have to run around and gather up the toiletries, curling irons, etc., that I need when I travel...invariably forgetting something important, like contact solution, etc. 

From the time I bought it, it was pretty "rough".  The inside had stains from spilled lotions, etc., and the outside had scuff marks.  When I first got it, I decided that I'd try to glue some fabric to the inside to cover the stains, but over the years of use, that fabric had come loose.

I decided it was finally time...time to make this thing look...well...adequate, if nothing else.  ;)

I "googled" train case makeovers and found that it is quite a business for some artsy-minded people.  They buy these cases, fix them up, and then sell them.  They turn out quite darling with tole-painted flowers on the outside and ruffles inside, etc.  Some people use them as sewing kits, storage, etc.

I figured I'd try my hand at "upgrading" my train case.  Even if I couldn't make it look as pretty as the ones I found online, at least it would look better than it currently did.  

Most people completely "gut" the case, first, but I really wasn't up for quite that much work.  Instead, I did a partial gutting.  I started by removing the "panel" that was inside the lid and all the lining that surrounded it, since the panel and the lining were already coming off.

Basically, the "panel" was a piece of cardboard covered with a piece of cloth.  I kept the panel to reuse in the makeover.

I also took a craft knife and cut the satin liner that came up from the bottom and covered the hinges so that it was level with the top of the rest of the bottom lining.  I scraped off the glue that had been holding the panel and surrounding satin.

I applied one coat of Kilz primer with a brush on the inside of the train case, including over the satin liner of the bottom part.  Then I coated the inside with 2 coats of white paint that I had leftover from a free quart I got from Glidden a couple years ago.  I used 2 coats of Behr paint with primer (a sage green) on the outside of the case.  (That paint was leftover from one of the bedrooms that I painted about 3 years ago.)

I cut some fabric into 1.25" strips and, using decoupage, applied them around the inside of the lid and down the inside back to cover the "joints" where 2 pieces of satin meet.  I covered the "panel" with 2 layers of leftover polyester batting and a piece of fabric and glued it back inside the lid.

And now...for the reveal...

Much better, don't you think???

(Kristin, do you recognize the fabric?)  The fabric was gifted to me by my niece, Kristin, after her wedding.  She had used it to make runners for her tables and, since she doesn't sew (yet), she gave the fabric to me afterward!  :)

It may not be as froo-frooey and pretty as some of the train case makeovers, but it is a BIG step up from what it was!   And the nice thing is that since the inside now has a couple coats of paint, if something spills, I can just wipe it up and it shouldn't stain!  

Now, I've got to get it stocked again for our next trip!  :)


Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Land is My Land....

Quote for the Day:
“Take pride in how far you've come. 
Have faith in how far you can go. 
But don't forget to enjoy the journey."
 ~Michael Josephson

After all my talking lately about our "new" property that we've been working on and cleaning up, I thought that maybe some of you...well, maybe at least ONE of you...might want to see what I'm talking about and see the progress!  ( maybe no one will find this interesting, but it *is* my blog, and I want to blog about it, so I'm going to...because I'm ornery like that.)

I've blogged about it a little here, but here is the main gist of the story:
Back in November of 2011, we bid on and won the property next to ours at a tax lien sale.  There was a contractor in town that bid against us and lost.  He was bitter about it and started dumping construction debris and trash on the property.  With a tax lien sale in our state, you can't touch the property for 18 months, thus giving the owners a chance to redeem it.   So for 18 months, we got to sit by and watch as this contractor systematically destroyed this property.   We couldn't get the code city code enforcement officers to do anything about it, because they are friends with the contractor.  :(

April 1, 2013, the property legally became ours and the contractor began pulling his equipment off of the property that he had parked there, and also he began removing any useable construction supplies.  He left all the trash, of course.  

We were advised by our lawyer to still not do anything until we actually had the deeds in our hands.  The deeds arrived in the mail on April 13!!

At that point, we put up "No Trespassing" signs and started making plans for cleaning up the property and making our plans for the use of it. 
Since April 13th, we've been working on the property to clean it up.  We've given away reclaimed/reusable wood and firewood.  We've burned brush and other debris on the property.  And most recently, we've concentrated on getting the cement pads cleaned up and ready so that we have a garage and workshop (2 different buildings) constructed on the site.

 First cement pad before...
Same cement pad now...cleaned off, old floor tiles removed...ready for a garage!
(Picture taken from right front corner... 
Same pad...taken from left front corner...
Second cement pad before...
Same cement pad now...just needs one more sweeping and then it will be ready for construction to begin on Andy's 20' X 32' workshop!

Third cement pad before...
Third cement pad it's not perfect, yet,
but it's a work in progress...

 Fourth cement pad before...

 Brush and debris before...
...same area now...

Firewood before...
...and now...

This is still what needs to be cleaned up and burned...

Now that we are in the heat of the summer here, these piles will probably wait until Fall, when it cools off.  We are happy with the progress we've made so far and are looking forward to getting the buildings constructed that we want:  a 2-stall garage, Andy's workshop, and a 2-car carport.  

It's been a long road as far as it's been, and there's still a ways to go.  But lots of progress has been made and we are happy that the property now adds to, rather than detracts from, the neighborhood and surrounding home values.   It is rewarding to look out and see the beautiful green trees and grass rather than the run-down equipment and debris that we've had to look at for 18 months!  

Thanks for taking this pictorial journey with me! 



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Some Blogging Housekeeping...

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</

With Google Reader going away on July 1, 2013, I'm trying to set up my blog so you can follow me on Bloglovin'.  

So just disregard this post...I'm "claiming my blog" with Bloglovin'...


Table Update...

Quote for the Day:
"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." 
~Tori Filler

Back in April, Andy & I went to an estate auction and I picked up this little baby...a vintage typewriter table...for $2.00. 

I thought it would come in handy in my sewing room as a "portable" flat surface for...well...whatever. 

But FIRST...I wanted to paint it RED!  (My favorite color, BTW.  Of course, you couldn't tell that by the RED sofa, chair cushion and rug in the background of the picture, could you?  LOL)

It took two cans of spray paint to get adequate coverage, but I finally got it all finished and it is now in my sewing room.

I am currently using it beside my hand quilting frame to hold all my "tools" for hand quilting.  That way my "stuff" no longer has to perch precariously on the two rear rollers anymore.  :)

I particularly like that you can extend the "arms" to make a bigger surface, if needed.

The wheels roll really well, too...even on the carpet!  Plus, they have "locks" on them if you want to keep the table stationary.  I think this table will come in very handy for many uses in the future and is a great addition to my sewing room!  :)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Games People Play...

Quote for the Day:
"A bargain is something you cannot use at a price you cannot resist."

Our family likes to play games when we get together...Apples to Apples, UNO, Scattergories, etc., so when Trinity found a new game at a thrift store for the princely sum of 25¢, she splurged and bought it!!  It wasn't one that we had ever heard of or played before, but when Andy & I were in Georgia in May, the 4 of us...Trinity, Paul, Andy, and myself...all sat down and learned how to play.

The game is called "Tripoley" and it is FUN FUN FUN!!!  The four of us played it for four nights in a row and one day when Paul was at work, Andy, Trinity, and I played it with 3 players.

If you like games and can get your hands on this one, I highly recommend it!  We had a blast playing it!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

By Request...

Quote for the Day:
"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
~Desmond Tutu

When we were with the kids in Georgia last month, we had a "family picture" taken....on the same porch where it was taken 2 years ago.  My niece, Kristin, said that I should post both pictures together so we can compare and contrast. special ya' go...

Then...May 2011

Now...May 2013 

Look!  Paul is wearing the exact same shirt!  His wardrobe doesn't vary much!  LOL

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Sew On and Sew On...

Quote for the Day:
"I've been put on this earth to sew and finish a certain number of things. 
I am so far behind right now…I will never die!"
~author unknown

The Blue Ridge Beauty quilt is now marked, loaded into the hand quilting frame, and even has the first few stitches in it!  YAY!

I was going to piece together a backing for this quilt, but I looked and looked through my yardage and just couldn't come up with something that I liked for the backing.  I had some 108" wide unbleached muslin in my stash, so I decided to use it instead.  I know, I know...BORING!!!  But, oh will be a breeze to quilt through since muslin is lightweight and all.  I'm making this quilt as a gift for someone (who doesn't read my blog, obviously!  LOL) and I was afraid that person might not find a pieced backing as attractive and interesting as I do, so I went with the "safe" route...a solid unbleached muslin.  

I used to use wide unbleached muslin a lot for backings when I first started quilting and I would buy it by the bolt when I could use a coupon at Joann's and get it for 50% off.  But as I've "grown" (a nice word for "aged"), I've found that I like a print on the quilt backing.  Sometimes I buy wide backings to match or "compliment" the front, and sometimes I piece backings...sometimes from scraps/leftovers...especially if the quilt is for me or for someone that I know would appreciate an interesting quilt back.

However, my eyes were opened by a quilter I met recently who said that she only likes plain backings on her quilts because she tries to keep with the way quilts were originally made...with plain, boring backs.  :(   That opened my eyes that not all people think the back of the quilt should be as interesting as the front.  And since this quilt is going to someone who may not have seen or experienced pieced backings, I decided to go the "safe" route. I whimped out!  :(   I hope the quilt is appreciated by the person it will be going to...even with it's boring back!  LOL

This top measures 94" X 108", so it will probably take me a good 6 months to finish it.  I have a pad of paper on my silver tray of hand quilting supplies (you can see the silver tray sitting on the quilt in the top picture) and I make notes of things to remember that come to me while I'm hand quilting, be it the time and date of a TV show I see advertised, or just things that I want to remember to do.  On that pad, I write the date that I start quilting a quilt so I can look back and see just how long it took me to quilt it.  Sometimes I surprise myself and finish it quicker than I thought I would.  Other times I find that it took me longer than I had originally thought, though I am getting faster with experience.  It's just one of those things that I like to keep track of. OCD is showing!  LOL



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ready To Go Into The Frame!!!

My Blue Ridge Beauty blocks are now a FLIMSY(!!)...ready to be marked and loaded onto the hand quilting frame!  YAY!!!

I still need to figure out a backing for it.  I don't want to buy more fabric for the backing, so I think I'll pick something out from the $2/yard fabric that I bought from my LQS (local quilt store) several months ago, and piece the backing.  

I don't have any batting big enough for it (94" X 108"), so I'll need to go the quilt store on Monday and pick up a batt. 

This top is so big, I had to turn is sideways to get it to fit on our bed for photographing!  LOL

This quilt was made as a "Leader/Ender" project out of scraps leftover from previous quilts...all except for the red and blue borders...that came from yardage in my stash.   It's amazing what you can make from leftover scraps!


Friday, June 7, 2013

New Grandbaby = New Quilt!!

Quote for the Day:
"A family stitched together with love seldom unravels."
~author unknown

I know that I had posted pictures of my latest baby quilt already, but I'm doing this blog post on the baby quilt I just made to link up with Michelle over at Michelle's Romantic Tangle.  (This way people won't have to wade through all the other baby shower post to find pictures of Alex's baby quilt!)  

Michelle is hosting a baby quilt linky party today, so I encourage you to go check out her blog and all the blogs that link up to her linky party!  

Our third grandchild is due to arrive in July...another boy!   That means another chance to make a baby quilt!!!
 Scrappy Carpenter's Star

The backing fabric is Mother Goose Nursery rhymes...

About 90% of the blocks for the baby quilt came from the leftovers from the making of this quilt...

The only fabric that was added to the leftovers to make the baby quilt were the center pinwheel block, the blue border, and the backing!  It's amazing what you can make from leftover scraps of fabric!  I certainly hope you aren't throwing those scraps away!   You've got more quilts in those leftovers!!  :)


Thursday, June 6, 2013

What's On My Design Wall???

Quote for the Day:
"When life gives you scraps make a quilt!"
~author unknown

Because I was on vacation for 9 days and then had to work when I got home, I've been 2 weeks without doing any quilting!  I thought I'd pull out some quilt blocks that I had worked on a year or so ago, but hadn't sewn together into the top, yet.  I had all the blocks for the quilt completed when I put them away, so all I have to do is to sew them and make them into a top.  The sooner I can get the top sewn together and borders on, the sooner I can get it into the frame.  Right???  And a quilt in the frame makes me VERY VERY HAPPY!   :)

Last evening, I pulled out all of the blocks and arranged them on my design wall.  

There are still two more rows to go across the top, but I didn't have room for them on my design wall until I get some of the other rows sewn together.

This quilt pattern is called "Blue Ridge Beauty" by Bonnie Hunter and is from her "Adventures with Leaders & Enders" book.  The pattern calls for 2" strips, but I didn't have any scraps cut into 2" strips, so I used 2.5" strips, instead.  I have PLENTY of those!   This made my unfinished blocks 8.5" instead of 6.5" like hers.  Then I just didn't need to make as many as her pattern called for...I only needed 120 bocks.  The center of the quilt will be 10 blocks by 12 blocks.

It's hard to get a good picture of it on the design wall because it's so big and because of my sewing table and quilting frame, I can't get back far enough to get a good picture.  :(   Oh well, at least you get the general idea.

I started sewing the rows together last night and got about 4 rows joined before my neck started going into spasms again and I had to call it a night.  Hopefully, I can get them all sewn together over the next couple of days, add the two borders, and then get it into the frame for hand quilting.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Trinity's Baby Shower...

Quote for the Day:
It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.
~Elinor Goulding Smith 

Memorial Day weekend in Georgia was a BUSY one!  Saturday was Andrew's birthday party, and on Sunday we attended Trinity's Baby Shower!   Prepare yourself for more picture overload!  :)  (And this post contains QUILT PICTURES!!!)

Since Erin & I don't live nearby and couldn't attend the baby shower for Andrew, Trinity's mom and sister, Tonya, made sure to have the shower while we would be in Georgia for Andrew's birthday.  

Here we are waiting for everyone to arrive to get the party started!  


The shower was held in a side room in one of the local restaurants.  The group was small, but we had a BLAST, sometimes laughing so hard our sides were hurting!  :)  The waitresses would stick there head in every so often to see what we were doing that we were having so much fun at! 

There were 3 young girls in attendance:  Sera, Amelia, and Trystan.  We all had fun eating, playing games, and enjoying each others company.  

In this game we had to guess Trinity's waist size at her current 32 week state. looks like someone over-guessed it in this picture!  LOL 

There was also a baby-food tasting game where we had to guess the flavors.  Amelia, age 5, who has a baby sister at home (Kaylee) was the best guesser!  I think she's been stealing bites of her sister's food!  LOL   Let me tell you, after tasting some of this stuff, I am ashamed that I gave it to my kids!!! 

The cake was made by Trinity's sister, Tonya...who is the resident cake-decorator and renowned face-painter!  :)  She also made all the decorations, etc.  (She is a graphic artist, so everything looked so professional!)

Tonya and her mom, Terry, made this "diaper cake".  Now, we've all seen diaper cakes...but have you ever seen one like this???  Everything that went into making this dog-riding-a-motorcycle diaper "cake" is a useable baby item.  The handlebars are baby socks stuck on the end of a rolled-up blanket!!!

Here's Sera writing down her guess for how many M & M's are in the baby bottle...

These are the receiving blankets and matching burp cloths that I made for Alex...

Remember all those projects I was working on but said I couldn't tell you about???  ;)  Well, now I can!  

I made 3 double-sided receiving blankets with crocheted edging.

I also made 4 "paci clips".  One end attaches to the pacifier and one end clips to the baby's clothing.  Then when the baby spits out the pacifier, it doesn't fall on the floor and get all YUCKY!  :)

Of course, I had to make Alex a quilt, too!  :)

 (Mother Goose nursery rhymes on the back)

Trinity's mom also sews and made this blanket...flannel on one side and Minky on the other! 

These two bibs were made by Trinity's mom and sister.  Aren't they just ADORABLE!!!

Now, I will leave you with two videos.  We played a game where you paired up with someone.  Each of you were only able to use ONE HAND. You had to undress a baby doll and then redress it.  The team with the shortest time won, which happened to be Terry and Tonya.  I don't have that video to show you.  However, I will share the video of Trinity and Erin playing the game and one of Terry & me trying our hands at it.  If you ever need a game for a baby shower, this one is THE ONE!  It's just too funny!!